Don't Be a Shmogi, Taking Yoga Back
I have some good news and I have some bad news. I'll start with the bad news. There has been an attempt to hijack and kidnap yoga from us. And now the good news, you can take it back. Many practitioners call themselves yogis or yoginis but they have taken the sacred practice of yoga and changed it to an inaccessible and inauthentic practice. They are who I call Shmogis(ginis), or phony yogis! Many of these Shmogis have tried to take yoga away from the masses by spreading myths about the practice and I want us to take yoga back.
Yoga is over 4,000 years old and practiced by men, women and children all over the world. Yoga is the yoking or weaving together of mind, body and spirit. So why would it suddenly be subject to rigid formulations, mysterious rituals or incredible physical feats?
Yoga encompasses many aspects including physical postures, study of sacred philosophies, mindfulness, discipline, and meditation, acknowledging wholeness, to name a few.I personally believe that there are benefits to the suggested general guidelines and paths to yoga. But as you will see below, some of these have morphed into myths that seem to keep yoga exclusive only to those who follow very specific paths and keep all other seekers away. We must ask, why do some insist on portraying yoga as something to be done by the young, physically beautiful, fit and acrobatic?
How I discovered Yoga and You Can Too
Back in 2000, I was grieving the sudden death of my mother from a rare cancer, adjusting to moving across the country from New York to San Francisco. During that time, I had no permanent job or resources, and was dealing with other crises that lead to my physical, emotional and spiritual breakdown. I decided to try yoga as a stress management strategy. I practiced alone in my apartment because I didn't have the money to go to a studio and didn't want to expose my broken self to others.Slowly I realized and discovered that yoga was much more than physical poses.
At a certain point I became confused because I didn't understand its philosophical or spiritual components very well. I learned through watching videos, reading books, and other literature the different ways to practice that would work for me. I'm pretty stubborn so I decided to do my own practice and customize it to fit my physical and financial limitations. It's been more than a decade and I still consider myself to be in the beginning phases of my yoga exploration as an integral part of my life.I have also learned that yoga as practiced in the western world has taken in few meandering turns away from TRUTH.